Protecting a Ranch

Marston approaching a rustler, gun readied.

Nightwatch is an activity in Red Dead Redemption where the player is able to earn money and honor by protecting a settlement from rustlers and bandits while on night patrol with a watchdog. Nightwatch is available from sundown to sunrise.

Nightwatch is only available in Blackwater, MacFarlane's Ranch and Chuparosa.

To unlock the nightwatch missions you must complete the Bonnie MacFarlane mission "New Friends, Old Problems".

The player must follow the dog at all times.

Enemies and General combat

  • Rustlers: The player will sometimes see a man attempting to steal some cattle; the player may hogtie or kill him.
  • Horse Thieves: The player will sometimes see a crook throwing a man off of his horse. The player may hogtie the criminal or shoot him, but be careful: if the player gets too close, the criminal will kill the victim.
  • Break-ins: The player will sometimes see a man attempting to break into a window of a house. He may be killed or hogtied.
  • Gangs Attacking Women: The player will sometimes find 4 or 5 bandits surrounding a woman; they may be hogtied or killed. It is easier to shoot them all using the Dead Eye Targeting as trying to capture them will result in the player likely getting shot to death. This is more likely to happen in Chuparosa than MacFarlane's Ranch or Blackwater.
  • Threatening Wildlife: The player will be required to protect the town/farms wildlife from bandits. The player has a choice to hogtie or kill them.
  • Fights: The player will sometimes see two men having a fist fight. The player can kill/hogtie them both or fire their gun and they will run away.
  • Robbery: The player will be required to stop a robbery. The player can kill or lasso the robber, but if the player gets too close or waits too long, the criminal will shoot the victim, then proceed to attack the player.
  • Murderers: The game will call them "robbers" but, when the player proceeds to the area, a man can be seen standing over a dead body, looting him after hearing a gunshot. The player can still loot the victim after dealing with the killer.
  • Coyotes: The player will see a coyote trying to run away with a chicken in the mouth. The player must kill the coyote. This will only happen in MacFarlane's Ranch as it is the only place with a chicken coop out of the three available areas.

Bandits and other criminals can be killed in combat or captured with the lasso. Reward amounts often vary according to the difficulty of the conflict which occurs throughout the night. Reward money is increased if criminals are captured alive; some events can be resolved by pulling out your weapon and shooting it into the air (be careful of auto aim). Nightwatch may also require Marston to protect livestock and crops by killing or preventing pests and predators such as rabbits and coyotes, respectively. Payout can range anywhere from $40 to $105 and varies by death count.


Tips and Tricks

  • The dog walks faster than Marston can walk, but slower than he runs, making it somewhat difficult to keep pace. However, if on a horse, the player can accompany the dog by holding "A" on Xbox 360 and "X" on PS3. After completing the job, riding through town at a steady pace by holding the button may cause the horse to stop and attempt to follow the dog (the horse stamina meter turns green to indicate "follow mode") until the player gets out of range.
  • While capturing a criminal, be quick to hogtie him after lassoing him because you will end up dead if anyone else is involved in the crime. Dragging him for too long while on horseback while he is attached (but not yet hogtied) will also kill him.
  • If you do a Nightwatch job in Blackwater and quickly camp and fast travel to Chuparosa, you can do another nightwatch job and earn $200. Then, you can do the same to go back to Blackwater. The nightwatch job will still be available, since fast travel from Blackwater to Chuparosa takes a long time.
  • Shooting the criminal(s) in their legs prevents them from escaping or attacking Marston. (However, if it is done to prevent attack, the player will only have a few seconds to take advantage.)


  • Though it states above that MacFarlane's Ranch only has one criminal, sometimes there will be no criminals. It is unknown whether this is a glitch or not.
  • You earn positive honor by capturing criminals alive.
  • During a Nightwatch, if the player breaks up a fight by hogtying one of the two criminals, the other will sometimes attempt to shoot the guard dog accompanying Marston, but it can not be killed.
  • Sometimes a man wearing a suit will pull a gun on you with no provocation, but if you shoot him, you will lose honor. Seen at MacFarlane's Ranch. (Confirmed on PS3)
  • It seems there are no Nightwatch jobs when raining. It is unknown if this is a glitch or not.
  • The previous entry may concern a glitch on the PS3, but on the Xbox 360 a Nightwatch job at MacFarlane's Ranch was available and accepted by a player during a thunderstorm in the game. This job was completed, and payment received, at around 1:30 AM, game time. It was raining at the start of the job, and it was still raining once the job had been completed.
  • Trophies/Achievement
100 gamerscoreGamerscore
Gold goldGold
Attain 100% in the Single Player Game Completion stat.
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